Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE A

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 921–925 | Cite as

Bayesian mapping of neural tube defects prevalence in Heshun County, Shanxi Province, China during 1998∼2001

  • Chi Wen-xue 
  • Wang Jin-feng 
  • Li Xin-hu 
  • Zheng Xiao-ying 
  • Liao Yi-lan 



To estimate the prevalence rates of neural tube defects (NTDs) in Heshun County, Shanxi Province, China by Bayesian smoothing technique.


A total of 80 infants in the study area who were diagnosed with NTDs were analyzed. Two mapping techniques were then used. Firstly, the GIS software ArcGIS was used to map the crude prevalence rates. Secondly, the data were smoothed by the method of empirical Bayes estimation.


The classical statistical approach produced an extremely dishomogeneous map, while the Bayesian map was much smoother and more interpretable. The maps produced by the Bayesian technique indicate the tendency of villages in the southeastern region to produce higher prevalence or risk values.


The Bayesian smoothing technique addresses the issue of heterogeneity in the population at risk and it is therefore recommended for use in explorative mapping of birth defects. This approach provides procedures to identify spatial health risk levels and assists in generating hypothesis that will be investigated in further detail.

Key words

Birth defects Neural tube defects (NTDs) Disease map Spatial analysis Bayesian smoothing China 

CLC number

TP317 R18 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chi Wen-xue 
    • 1
  • Wang Jin-feng 
    • 2
  • Li Xin-hu 
    • 2
  • Zheng Xiao-ying 
    • 3
  • Liao Yi-lan 
    • 2
  1. 1.China University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Nature Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Population ResearchPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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